On January 6, the Congress convenes to validate the votes of the Electoral College. As it stands right now, Joe Biden will be the next president, giving the lie to the old claim of “cheaters never prosper.” There is still one last gambit. Several members of the House of Representatives and senators plan on objecting to the electoral votes cast by five states where the results were questionable and, in some places, beggar the imagination. While it is doubtful that this maneuver will change the outcome, it is very important that the GOP lay down a marker for dealing with the incoming Biden administration that says they are viewed as an illegitimate usurpation and will be treated as such. So it was a shock last evening when Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton issued a statement saying that he will not support the challenge to the electoral votes:
“I share the concerns of many Arkansans about irregularities in the presidential election, especially in states that rushed through election-law changes to relax standards for voting-by-mail. I also share their disappointment with the election results. I therefore support a commission to study the last election and propose reforms to protect the integrity of our elections. And after Republicans win in Georgia, the Senate should also hold more hearings on these matters. All Americans deserve to have confidence in the elections that undergird our free government.
Nevertheless, the Founders entrusted our elections chiefly to the states—not Congress. They entrusted the election of our president to the people, acting through the Electoral College—not Congress. And they entrusted the adjudication of election disputes to the courts—not Congress. Under the Constitution and federal law, Congress’s power is limited to counting electoral votes submitted by the states.
If Congress purported to overturn the results of the Electoral College, it would not only exceed that power, but also establish unwise precedents. First, Congress would take away the power to choose the president from the people, which would essentially end presidential elections and place that power in the hands of whichever party controls Congress. Second, Congress would imperil the Electoral College, which gives small states like Arkansas a voice in presidential elections. Democrats could achieve their longstanding goal of eliminating the Electoral College in effect by refusing to count electoral votes in the future for a Republican president-elect. Third, Congress would take another big step toward federalizing election law, another longstanding Democratic priority that Republicans have consistently opposed.
Thus, I will not oppose the counting of certified electoral votes on January 6. I’m grateful for what the president accomplished over the past four years, which is why I campaigned vigorously for his reelection. But objecting to certified electoral votes won’t give him a second term—it will only embolden those Democrats who want to erode further our system of constitutional government.”
This, in my view, is a shameful abrogation of responsibility by someone who has been a conservative warrior ever since he was first sworn it.
The sad part is that it is doubtful that Cotton actually believes any of this.
A commission to study something after validating that something is just a punt. It is theater. This commission has two choices: find nothing and declaring the election legitimate or finding the election was not free and fair and then confronting the nation with proof that the president benefitted from widespread fraud and misconduct in his election.
The idea that the Democrats will forswear some act if only Republicans play nice is such nonsense. This crap has been fed to us for four decades and it has never worked. The only reason why the Democrats have never tried this is that the final vote would be by state delegations, and the GOP controls more states.
You don’t prevent something from happening in the future by acquiescing to it now. We are creating a precedent around mail-in ballots and mystery vote dumps and the number of votes cast exceeding registered voters in numerous precincts. By failing to object, Cotton is accepting that this criminality is okay.
It costs Cotton nothing at all to object, and it costs the nation quite a bit by his failure to do so. One has a right to ask why this decision was made as the proclaimed reasons seem implausible. Is this principle, or is he looking at 2024 and trying to innoculate himself against any attacks by the Democrats that he was one of the “conspiracy theorists” and “seditionists” that refused to recognize election fraud as legitimate?